Deadline For Democracy
June 28 - July 10
Whatever our color, background or zip code, most of us believe that voters should pick our leaders—our leaders do not get to pick their voters. When it comes to our elections, we want a transparent process we can trust, where Americans have equal freedom to vote, whether we live in a small town or big city, the south or the north. But today, a handful of extremist politicians have put up barriers to silence our voices based on what we look like or where we live. It’s time for national standards for voting so all of us have a say in key decisions like affordable care, quality jobs, and a healthy future.
Together, we can ensure Americans can safely and freely cast our ballots so that every voice is heard and our elections reflect the will of the people.
But every day, we get closer to a very real deadline to take action to pass the For the People Act.
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July is the deadline for our democracy
We must pass the For the People Act if we want a functioning democracy
The 2020 election brought into sharp focus the importance of preserving and protecting our democracy against ongoing attempts to erode it. While structural problems with our democracy are longstanding, state legislatures across the country continue to work to further suppress the vote, do the bidding of dark money donors, and attack essential democratic norms and the rule of law. The For the People Act would apply retroactively to these racist voter suppression bills that have already passed through state legislatures. It would set a minimum set of standards for the administration of federal elections and would effectively overturn state laws that make it more difficult for people to vote, by:
- Increasing the number of drop-off boxes
- Requiring no-excuse absentee voting
- Establishing automatic voter registration
- Banning partisan gerrymandering and requiring independent redistricting commissions to draw congressional maps
Election administration experts advise us that many provisions of the democracy reform bill, such as the anti-gerrymandering independent redistricting commissions, will take significant time to implement ahead of the next midterm elections. These experts tell us things start getting dicey if we fail to pass the bill by the end of this summer. In other words, if you want to actually prevent gerrymandering and voter suppression in the 2022 midterm elections, you can’t delay the For the People Act much beyond the summer.
Compounding the issue is the political time crunch. The House of Representatives goes on the longest recess of the year at the end of July. They won’t be fully back until September 20th. When they get back, they’ll have additional urgent matters on their plate: the end of the budget year, possibly a fight over the debt ceiling, and infrastructure and care economy reconciliation packages. All of these things will take demand to be prioritized, and will likely eat up what few legislative days there are left in the year. It’s hard to see space for democracy reform this year after the August recess.
We don't have any time to waste.
We’ve got to make this July recess (June 28th - July 10th) big. We’re encouraging local activists to begin planning their visible, public, press-worthy events now to tell Senators—Democrats and Republicans alike—that the American people are showing up to demand a democracy that works for all the people and that we need them to act urgently on the For the People Act, no excuses.
Why we have to show up
Congress won't act unless pushed.
Congress never does anything hard unless pushed to do it. If it’s possible to kick a can down the road, they will. And we know it will be hard to pass the For the People Act. Ask yourself why Congress always waits until the last possible moment to deal with the debt ceiling, pass a budget, or reauthorize an expiring program—it’s because they procrastinate as long as is politically possible. If the public isn’t clamoring for something, if the media isn’t covering it, and most of all, if there isn’t a deadline—Congress will probably not do it.
And so right now, in this very moment of the legislative fight, we need wide-scale public pressure. Not in September. Not in early 2022. Right now—in the weeks leading up to the final showdown in July.